That Time We Tried Co-Sleeping (for 30 Minutes)

We have a queen sized bed. Both my husband and I toss and turn a lot at night. These two things have always kept us from trying “co-sleeping.” Our bed isn’t that big, and I am afraid of squishing our child. Sam and I occasionally took a nap together when he was very small and not mobile yet. But he always did fine in his bassinet and transitioned easily to his crib. So, I never thought much about co-sleeping.

Sam just made a year and is walking practially running everywhere all the time. I had a week or so off of work during the holidays, and Sam waited until then to start teething again and get a double ear infection. It was an exhausting week. He was particularly needy as he was uncomfortable. Plus, we kept telling him “no” when he tried to climb on top of something. And then there was sleeping. Or lack there of.

That Time We Tried Co-Sleeping

Usually Sam will wake up once for a night feeding or sleep all night.  But lately, whew, he has been fighting it. With all his might. He has trouble going down and staying asleep.

One night he woke up in the early, early morning and would not go back to sleep. We nursed. We rocked. We swayed. We tylenoled. He would fall asleep in our arms but wake up and scream every time we put him down. I would try everything I could think of. I’d finally put him down. He would scream. I, sleepy and annoyed, would tell my husband it was his turn. Then he would try everything he could think of and the cycle repeated itself. For two hours. Finally, I got to the point where I couldn’t keep rocking him. Rocking was doing a good job of helping me to drift off to sleep.

And then I did something I had never done before (and never really considered before). I brought him into our room.

As I walked in to our bedroom, my husband, half asleep and half excited, muttered, “How did you get him down?!”


“I didn’t.”

And there we were, the whole family in the bed.

At first I thought, this is great! Why did I wait so long to try this? A queen sized bed isn’t that small after all.

Sam didn’t quite know what to think. He was so sleepy, but that didn’t keep him from sitting up every so often to look around.  Then he’d lay his head on my chest or nuzzle his face on my arm.  He’d put his tiny hand on my face. I’d kiss his little head and smell his hair.  And then he was asleep. I love being a mom. 

It was adorable. Fuzzy-feeling. I liked having us all together. All close. All sleepy. All peaceful.

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Sam inherited something from both of us. This kid tosses and turns like no other. Shortly after he fell asleep, the fuzzy-feeling left. It was replaced with a few kicks to my husband’s back, a punch to my face, and endless re-positioning–on both Sam’s and my part. Then there was the fear that one of us would roll over and crush him. Or that he would wake up and crawl off the bed while I was sleeping.

It was so uncomfortable. I turned on my side, got my pillow just right. I put my arm above Sam. I could hear him breathing. I made sure the covers weren’t where they could cover his face. I could not close my eyes. My back hurt.

My body could not relax. I couldn’t get comfortable. I couldn’t fall asleep. I tried though. I hung in there for what seemed like forever. Finally, I thought, screw this. I can’t do it. He was sleeping peacefully, and, apparently, it had only been 30 minutes. Gently, I scooped up my slumbering tot and tiptoed back to the nursery and laid him in his crib.  I held my breath. He stayed asleep.

My bed never felt so comfortable after that. I stretched out. Tossed. Turned. Went to sleep.

The next morning, I thought, we need a king sized bed. And then, No. No. I don’t think we do. Maybe we’ll try the co-sleeping thing again one day. I’m sure when he’s older and has a nightmare he’ll come crawling in the bed with us. Until then, though, I’m not sure I can do it.

To all of you who co-sleep, my hat is off to you. I’m impressed.

Do you co-sleep? Why or why not?




Kristen and her husband, Gabe, married young, halfway through their college careers at LSU, figuring it would be more fun to be poor together than alone. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2007, they trekked all the way to Delaware, where she earned a Master’s degree in English Literature and can tell you more about Nineteenth-century England than you’d probably like to know. Afterwards, they spent a carefree year living in Philadelphia, enjoying city life, before moving back home to Central and settling in. The start of 2014 brought their son, Sam, into the world—their greatest adventure to date. She works full-time, tries to cook most nights even though she’s exhausted, and is trying to see the beauty in the mundane. Kristen is passionate about eating together around the table, teaching our kids to be independent and creative, and empowering dads (rather than telling them they’re doing it wrong). In her “free time,” she enjoys reading in the bath, watching Doctor Who, intending to do DIY projects, and occasionally making cameo appearances in her husband’s music videos.


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